Neuropsychology of Cortical versus Subcortical Dementia Syndromes

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Neuropsychological studies have shown that there are several prominent differences in the patterns of cognitive deficits that occur in neurodegenerative disorders that have their primary etiology in either cortical or subcortical brain dysfunction. Quantitative and qualitative differences are apparent across many cognitive domains, including memory (in all its aspects), attention, executive functions, language and semantic knowledge, and visuospatial abilities. These distinct patterns of deficits have been broadly characterized as forming cortical and subcortical dementia syndromes. Differentiating between cortical and subcortical dementia provides a heuristically useful model for understanding brain-behavior relationships in neurodegenerative diseases and may improve the ability to clinically distinguish among various dementing disorders.

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